Monday, July 31, 2006


Well, the new tenant came today and gave me a big ol’ wad of cash and I gave her the keys. I can finally give my full attention back to the house. I started on the outside corner today. I made the management decision to do both corbels, siding, and window all in one shot. It’s going to take a while but it’s the right way to go.

The first job – as always - is going to be to strip everything back to bare wood. I should have gotten a close-up of just how bad it is. I’m sure you’ve all see it before, a nice new thick coat of latex paint over old, flaking, dried up, 80 year old paint. Painting contractors should lose their license for doing this sort of shoddy workmanship

I’m sure a lot of people that pass by my house and see me doing this work think I’m crazy for spending so much time scraping all the paint off, but if they saw it up close they’d understand just how bad it is. Even if this corner were marginally good I’d probably do the same thing. This is the corner that points right at the street corner. It is one of my favorite parts of the house. It just has so much character to it.

The little first floor window that you can just barley see to the right in the photo is a small stained glass window. The big front arched stained glass window is just to the left of this corner. There is really a lot going on and it’s important that it looks good. There is also the fact that paint does much more than just make things look good, it also protects the wood. It’s important to get it right.


amanda said...

I agree that prep work is essential. However, you forget one thing in your statement against painting contractors: lead paint removal is very tricky business. Many companies refuse to do it at all. We were very lucky to find a restoration contractor who was willing not to just scrape mechanically, but actually burn off the paint with a blowtorch and then scrape and sand. We paid DEARLY for this- 17k for our paint job versus 3k for our neighbors, nonscraping paint job. (And we don't even have a wooden house- it's all brick with some porches and wood trim) Many people just can't afford to do that and lack either the tolerance of heights and ladders, the skills, or the desire to tackle that kind of a job themselves. You're doing beautiful work! I really admire your doing this all yourself.

Greg said...

I wish they could use that excuse, but in this town it won't fly. The city either doesn’t care or doesn't have the man power to police painting contractors that way. I see them scrap, grind, and blast lead paint off houses with no drop cloth or care in the world.

I had several pros stop by to give me tips and they suggested ways to remove paint that I wouldn't try and I think most of the fears on lead paint are hyperbole!

They just did crappy work, but in the defense of the painter, it comes down to the homeowner to demand good work.

Jocelyn said...

Afraid of a little lead paint? What a bunch of wussies. Sounds like an excuse to me. If you take the proper precautions and are an adult, it's not so dangerous. This stuff gets blown out of proportion. That said, doing that job for a living might be more risky than just doing one house.

Our 2nd floor apartment was an example of interior painting like that-layers caked on so much the profile of the wood was quite muffled. Your house will be so great with that job done.

We are looking forward to having that rent check in October yessiree...:)

amanda said...

Maryland has strict laws on lead paint abatement, and very stringent monitoring programs. For example, children living in my zipcode are tested at school periodically (every 6 mths, I think) whether or not they live in an old house! (I know b/c my boss got called for this, and she lives in a 8 year old vinyl box division). Anyway, it doesn't sound like that excuse would work in your town at all.